Most people don’t give much thought to their feet until they start having problems with dry feet, which can bring about itching, discomfort and pain. This in itself can be a problem, because our feet is the only two body parts that carry our entire body weight.
When the skin surrounding the feet becomes dry, it can become calloused and cracked; and this condition affects mostly the heels, and the web of the toes. If you are not diabetic this condition is not life threatening, and usually isn’t serious, but when the calluses around the heels especially, start cracking it can be extremely painful, even to walk. If the cracks in the feet become deep enough, they can start bleeding, and also open the foot up to infection. When the area between the toes becomes dry, the feet can itch really bad, and seems to get worse with shoes on. If the shoes aren’t well ventilated it can worsen dry feet.
Webster’s Complete Dictionary states that a symptom is, “that which indicates the existence of something else of which it is the effect.” Some of the effects of dry feet are:
1. Red and flaky areas – You will usually see these areas around, and between the toes.
2. Itchy skin – this problem can be further exacerbated when the skin is scratched and rubbed, making the area more tender and raw.
3. Peeling skin – making the feet unsightly, and can also be itchy.
4. Skin becomes cracked and tough – especially around the heels, and can be extremely painful.
Some of the causes of dry feet are:
1. Dehydration – not drinking enough water, especially in the warm weather. Our skin needs plenty of water to remain subtle.
2. Excessive bathing – especially in water that is too hot.
3. Too much swimming pool – chlorine dries the skin. Make sure you rinse off, or take a quick shower after swimming.
4. Using too harsh of soap, or not making sure all of the soap is rinsed off when bathing.
5. Not moisturizing the feet.
6. Age (ouch!) – as we age, our skin looses some of its natural lubrication.
7. Not exfoliating – the bath is the perfect time to do this. If you don’t take baths, then doing foot soaks is the next best thing.
Things that help treat dry feet are:
1. Make sure you exercise your feet daily; it helps the circulation in your lower extremities. If you have a desk job, you can do an exercise called ‘toe writing,’ and the good thing is, no one will ever know that you are exercising.
2. Avoid going barefoot as much as possible; especially outside. It is very abrasive on the perimeter of the heels.
3. If you have cracked heels, the one thing that I have found to help heal them is a blister band-aid. They keep the area around the crack soft, while healing. You can get these in your supermarket, in the aisle where the band-aids are.
4. Moisturizing your feet regularly is very important, and if you have red, itchy areas in-between your toes, an anti-itch cream will help bring relief until the area heals.
Summer is fast approaching, and starting a good foot care regimen now will prevent a more uncomfortable condition of dry feet later on.